Freezer cooking is an absolute must for busy moms who want to feed their families healthy, wholesome meals, stick to a budget, and be prepared for unexpected surprises … and stay sane while they do it! Freezer meals are lifesavers for me, and I’m always surprised at how few women I know make use of them. If you’re not already regularly preparing freezer meals, I’m going to make it my personal mission to inspire you and equip you to start!
I have a post all about why I love freezer cooking and my best tips for an effective (and efficient) freezer cooking session, so make sure to read that post if you haven’t already!
In that post, I shared that there are two main methods of preparing freezer meals, and I briefly described both, but I mainly focused on the big batch freezer meal sessions. I even gave away a FREE freezer meal session game plan for maximum efficiency, complete with recipes and ingredient lists!
In today’s follow-up post, I’m going to talk about the other method, tell you why it’s actually my preferred freezer cooking method, and offer yet another FREE set of recipes and plans!
Let’s get cooking!
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FREEZER COOKING METHOD #2: “STOW AS YOU GO”
WHAT IT MEANS
I’m calling this method of freezer cooking “stow as you go” because rather than knocking out several freezer meals in one big block of time, you will freeze one or two meals whenever you can. Rather than one big freezer cooking session, this method involves doubling (or tripling) whatever you’re already making for dinner on a given night and freezing half. You won’t fill your freezer in one fell swoop, but if you do it often enough, you will quickly build up a nice stockpile from just a few nights of cooking. Thus, the name “stow as you go.”
There are two basic ways of preparing freezer meals this way:
Freeze before cooking.
This is the ideal way to do it, as it results in better tasting meals. To do it this way, you will prepare everything as normal until right before the cooking step. At that point, you will cook whatever portion you need for that night’s dinner (plus maybe a bit of leftovers), and you will put the rest in the freezer to be cooked later.
Freeze after cooking.
Like I said, freezing your meals before cooking is ideal. But there are times when having an already-cooked meal on hand is pretty convenient, such as when you’re really pressed for time. On those nights, it’s awfully handy to pull something out that’s already cooked and only needs a simple reheat.
(Side note: I’ve started reheating leftovers in my Instant Pot rather than my microwave whenever possible, and it is awesome! To do it, I put my food in a large Pyrex dish, cover it with foil, set it on a trivet in the Instant Pot, and cook it on manual for about 1-2 minutes for refrigerated dishes and 5 minutes for frozen dishes. You may have to play around with the time a bit, but that usually works for me. Presto – no more dried out leftovers!)
I use both ways, as each one is advantageous in its own way. In the freezer meal plan below, I’ve included some of each.
WHY I PREFER THIS METHOD
Why do I like this method so much? Because it doesn’t require any big time commitments! I love freezer meal sessions that fill my freezer full of meals in one afternoon, but they require big chunks of relatively uninterrupted time. And as a busy mom of little ones, that can be really hard to come by. So I love this method of stockpiling that doesn’t require any more time than I’m already spending fixing dinner in the evening.
I also like this method because it doesn’t wear me out as much as a big freezer meal session can. Sometimes those marathon freezer meal sessions leave me feeling … well … like I just ran one. (Although in this freezer meal session, I prepped 11 meals in only 2 hours!!) But doubling one night’s dinner and freezing half barely requires any more energy than what I’m already expending. Which means I have more energy for fort-building and wrestling after dinner. 🙂
DRAWBACKS TO THIS METHOD
The drawback to this method, as I mentioned above, is that you don’t build your stockpile as quickly. You won’t fill your freezer in an afternoon. So those kinds of freezer meal sessions are really nice for building a stockpile before babies or when you know you’re going to be laid up for awhile. Or if all your weeknights are crazy and the only time you have to cook for the week is on the weekends. Then you might want to use my previous freezer meal plan.
But you’d be surprised at how quickly you can accumulate a good supply of freezer meals with this method if you commit to doubling your recipe every time you make a recipe. If you cook 5 different dinners in a week and you double each one, that’s 5 freezer meals after a week (duh) and 20 freezer meals by the end of the month! And, depending on the size of the recipes and how many people you’re feeding, you may actually be getting more like 30 or more meals out of them. All for only a few minutes more per night than you’re already spending making dinner.
Sounds pretty good, huh?
That’s what I decided to do last week. I had gotten a little lax about my freezer cooking, and I needed to restock my freezer. But looking at my calendar, I had no time to spend a few hours making freezer meals.
So instead, I decided to double as many nights’ dinners as I could last week and freeze the remainders. And now I’m sharing all of it with you! (Well, the plans and the recipes, anyway. Not the food itself. Sorry.)
MY “STOW AS YOU GO” FREEZER MEAL SESSION
Monday: Pork Fried Rice (frozen from an earlier week’s leftovers)
Tuesday: Meatloaf (I tripled the recipe and froze half)
Wednesday: Sandwiches (church night – no time to cook!)
Thursday: Pork Carnitas (I make a large batch and froze the leftovers)
Friday: Sauteed Chicken on pasta w/ roasted broccoli (I cut up several pounds of chicken and distributed them in bags of marinade. I cooked one bag for dinner and stuck the rest in the freezer for later.)
And now, for the moment you’ve all been waiting for, here are the recipes, instructions, and ingredient lists for all of it! All you have to do is sign up below, and you will be on your way to some delicious dinners AND freezer meals — two birds, one stone.
(Existing newsletter subscribers — you can use the form below OR go straight to my vault of freebies. If you can’t remember the password, it’s on the bottom of each week’s newsletter. 😉 )
>>> Get your freezer meal session below <<<
I hope you see now that freezer cooking doesn’t have to be tiring or time-consuming, and it’s not nearly as overwhelming as you might have thought! Whether you prefer to do it in big batches or “stow as you go,” freezer cooking is a mom’s best friend, allowing you to feed healthy, budget-friendly meals without stress!
Now that you’re familiar with both methods, which one are you more likely to try? Share in the comments below!
- Freezer Meals 101: Filling Your Freezer the Fast, Easy Way
- How I Made 11 Freezer Meals in Only 2 Hours!
- 5 Reasons You Need a Freezer (And Why I Need So Many!)
- My Ultimate Freezer Makeover